More conversions, larger cart sizes, less cart abandonment—retailers everywhere want to see e-commerce growth. It can be hard to achieve when consumers are scrutinizing every dollar and comparing options from a range of providers.
Like at many retailers, the e-commerce leaders at Tapestry had been asking how they can achieve e-commerce growth. Tapestry is a New York-based global house of modern luxury brands that includes Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman. A Fortune 500 retailer with 2022 net sales above $6 billion, Tapestry has defined its growth plan around sharpening the focus on the consumer and empowering teams to quickly meet rapidly changing customer needs. As part of the strategy, the company needed to stand up a test-and-learn program on their website to gather the customer insights necessary to continuously improve the customer experience.
“When I joined Kate three years ago, we had a lot of aspirations of things on the site that we wanted to test and learn about. We wanted to discover what was happening with customers, and how they wanted to interact with us,” says Jackie Diette, Senior Director of E-commerce at Kate Spade. “But it was really just hopes and dreams of what we could learn until Madison (Senior Director of Testing and Innovation at Tapestry) launched a more robust testing team and we started to dive into the possibilities of everything that we could learn.”
Jackie, together with Madison Hajeb and Kathleen Jiang (Manager of Content Optimization Programs at Tapestry), shared their experiences growing their testing capabilities and using what they learn—including AI-generated language from Persado, an enterprise Generative AI provider—during a recent webinar: Lessons in Innovation: A Conversation with E-Commerce Leaders at Tapestry. The conversation ranged from the importance of testing on Tapestry’s website, its holiday campaign strategy, and the evolving impact of personalization. This blog offers a few highlights.
You can watch the full webinar to learn more.
The role of testing in Tapestry’s e-commerce growth success
Madison Hajeb joined Tapestry around three years ago to create a testing function at the organization. Her team contributes to the business goals by providing data and insights about customers and their needs.
“We embarked on both quantitative and qualitative data gathering, including talking to our store associates, talking to customers themselves, reaching out digitally, and reaching out in person as much as we could,” says Madison Hajeb. “Part of that effort was hiring me and building out a team to support data gathering and testing so we can continue to lean even more heavily on algorithmic work—AI personalization and using statistical experimentation—to understand the impact of changes we’re making on our websites and in our stores with our customers.”
When Madison started at Tapestry, each brand had its own approach to testing using different tools and processes. Madison merged and reconciled those efforts into a center of excellence (COE) that supports all three brands. With a COE model, the entire organization benefits from a single set of technological capabilities. Learnings from one brand can also more easily scale to the others.
“Literally anything can be A/B tested or statistically tested,” says Madison. “I challenge anyone to figure out something I can’t test… Testing and innovation and digital are fundamentally about understanding people and understanding the human element of the retail experience. If we can understand their psychology, we can speak to them in a way that resonates with them and their emotional connection to our brands. Persado is a really good example of doing that—literally of saying what words and what language we are going to use to speak to our customers—but we also do it in content and visuals and site structure and store structure. It’s all tied in.”
Testing language along the path to purchase—and sharing insights across brands
Madison’s team fields ideas from various departments from Product to Marketing, as well as from the Testing team itself. With so many great ideas, prioritization is key to ensure they translate to e-commerce growth.
“The most important criteria has to do with the business impact we estimate the test could produce,” says Kathleen Jiang. “Most of the time, larger impact tests are ones that we find a very direct connection to conversion rates.”
One example of a high impact set of tests began at Kate Spade. The tests aimed to identify which version of web language would most motivate customers across the online shopping journey. From the product detail page to the shopping cart. Tapestry used the Persado Motivational AI Platform to test message variations across the “Add to Bag” call-to-action, the “Shopping Cart” pages, as well as the final stage of checkout (“Shipping and Payment”).
One of those tests revealed a winning Persado-generated variant that significantly outperformed alternatives. The winning variant included some subtle adjustments to copy. It also included a smiley face emoji at the end, which accounted for a large share of the improvement.
“When I saw that, I said, ‘No, you have to be kidding me,’” says Jackie Diette. “A smiley face is all it takes to change someone’s converting habits?’”
Jackie was not the only person who was surprised. Madison was also surprised by the result—so much so that she redid the experiment independently.
“I’ve been testing for over a decade and my first thought was that Persado was bamboozling us…,” says Madison. “I retested that three separate times in different tools and validated the results over and over and over again… That was a really big moment for the language pillar of our testing innovation program to say that this should be something that is always being optimized… the words we’re using that actually do make an impact. And we should never just let it be stale because there’s always an opportunity here to resonate with our customers even more.”
The role personalization plays at Tapestry
“It’s the dream of any brand to personalize every aspect of our site to each visitor,” says Jackie. “Really bringing the in-store experience of working with an associate directly to everyone online.”
The Tapestry leaders admit they aren’t 100% there yet.
“What we’re trying to do right now is work in a more segmented approach where we see patterns in their data. We’re saying, if you fall into this pattern, we’re going to speak to you in this way. Hopefully we’ll see positive impact in our conversion rate or our sales because of it,” says Madison. “We are able to work with really innovative vendors to do this. Persado is one of them. And we’re saying: … Help us speak to these segments in unique ways. Help us predict what is going to be effective for them. Let’s let the AI drive more optimized content.”
On the subject of personalized language for driving e-commerce growth, Kathleen adds, “Most often when we think about personalization, we’re thinking about features and products. We want to be recommending the right products to people. But the layer on top of that is also personalizing the language. Because different people are receptive to different types of emotions and ways of speaking. We’ve done some work with Persado already where we’re looking at the personalization of email subject lines and how there are different segments of customers that react better to excitement, for example, versus more urgency-based language. So that’s something else to take into consideration with personalization.”
Listen to the entire conversation with the e-commerce leaders at Tapestry. To learn how you can transform your digital marketing experience with AI-generated content talk to Persado.